After finding out you’re pregnant (congrats mommy-to-be!), you may start to feel a little anxious. What can you do? What can you not do? What foods and drinks should you avoid? With so much information out there, it can quickly become overwhelming. That is exactly why we’ve put together this list of do’s and don’ts for your first trimester, so you can make the best possible decisions for you and your baby during this important phase of pregnancy.
DO start taking folic acid supplements
You’ll want to start taking folic acid supplements as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant. This provides essential nutrients that helps protect the baby’s brain and spinal cord. You may also want to start taking prenatal vitamins.
DO prepare for morning sickness
Despite its name, morning sickness can last all day typically during the first trimester. While not all women are plagued with morning sickness during pregnancy, many are so it’s best to get ready for it ahead of time.
There are teas specifically formulated to combat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. If you find that you’re prone to morning sickness, you can brew yourself a cup each morning. There are also morning sickness hard candies that you can eat in addition to your cup of tea or instead of it.
If you find that you have mild morning sickness, then you can take measures like eating small and frequent meals and sticking to foods that are bland and simple. If you find that it is severe you should talk to your OBGYN immediately.
DO learn about health insurance and pick a provider
If you already have health insurance, you should look into the plans for prenatal care and delivery expenses. If healthcare is provided by your job, look into the benefits offered by the health insurance company.
From there, it’s time to choose an OBGYN or a midwife. The reason it’s advised to look into health insurance first is because they likely have a list of participating providers. A good way to find a healthcare provider is through recommendations from friends and family. Ensure they are under your health insurance plan and, if possible, meet with a few to see if they are a good fit.
DO set up your first prenatal appointment
Before your appointment, make a note of the first day of your last period as they will ask you this, and write down any questions that you may have for your doctor. If there are diseases or disorders on either the father’s side of the family or yours, these are a great thing to discuss with your doctor.
You should also make sure to consult your doctor about any medications you are on to make sure they are safe for pregnant women. Continue to do this throughout your pregnancy if you are prescribed different medications, including over-the-counter ones. Mention any herbs, vitamins, or other supplements you take.
DO limit stress
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the first few months of pregnancy with lists of things you have to do. But stress is bad for your health and for the baby’s development so you’ll want to avoid it as much as possible.
Easier said than done, right? Well, there are a few measures you can take in order to make this process easier for yourself:
- Take everything day-by-day. For example, instead of doing everything all at once, take it in stride and do one thing every day to get prepared for the new baby’s arrival.
- Practice deep breathing. When you are starting to feel stressed, don’t let yourself get too worked up. It’s normal! Instead, take a few deep, calming breaths and refocus your intentions.
- Use a pregnancy planner. This will help you to stay organized and abreast of the things you have to do so that you can reduce stress.
DO cultivate better habits
If you haven’t already read our general list of do’s and don’ts for pregnancy, you should give it a look. There are things that will be important throughout your pregnancy. We included the importance of exercise (you may need to modify your workouts to accommodate your pregnancy), eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. Those are extremely important in the healthy development of your baby and in maintaining your own health. But it’s not enough to start doing that in your 3rd trimester and hoping that’s enough. You need to start now, during your first trimester.
- Exercise: Between the nausea and low energy, working out may be the last thing you feel like doing. But it’s important to get up and move as it makes for a more comfortable pregnancy and can help reduce complications.
- Get lots of sleep: Being pregnant is very demanding on your body and being a new mom is even more so. Make sure you are getting enough sleep to help you prepare.
- Eat healthy: It’s essential that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet so that you are getting all the nutrients that you and your baby need.
DO talk to your partner about parenting and budgeting
This is going to look different for all couples because everyone goes into parenthood with their own ideas and practices. One good way to tackle this is to sit down and both write a list of what parenting means to you and what each of you saw from your mother and father. Then, come together and agree on practices that add value to the baby’s life and help raise your child positively.
It’s also important that you talk about how you plan to handle the baby’s expenses. It’s no secret that babies can be expensive with all the diapers, food, toys, and baby gear, in addition to saving for when the baby grows up. Check where you can trim your budget now and make adjustments to save money that can be used for your baby.
DON’T paint the nursery
It’s an exciting step to get to decorate the baby’s room but the chemicals and solvents in paint can be toxic and harmful. If you do insist on painting, use natural or organic paints and ensure the room is well-ventilated.
DON’T consume foods that may be harmful to you or your baby
We go much more in-depth in our article on the top 11 foods to avoid during pregnancy so be sure to check that out.
DON’T smoke or breathe in secondhand smoke
Cigarette smoke is linked to many complications that may include cancers, premature delivery, low birth weight, miscarriage, sudden infant deather syndrome, and learning or behavioral disabilities as the baby grows and develops. You should not be doing any recreational drugs as they can be harmful and toxic to you and the baby.
DON’T stay in the same position for an extended period of time
Do not sit or stand for long periods of time as it can hurt your ankles and veins. Take frequent breaks to move around and keep your legs elevated after you’ve been on your feet for a while.
DON’T drink alcohol
Alcohol can pass through the placenta and umbilical cord and affect the baby’s developing brain and organs. Regular consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, brain damage, miscarriage, stillbirth, and life-long debilitation.